múm ‎– Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy

IMG_7386

I like múm a lot but their records aren’t readily available new and the used market it expensive. All I have is one album and a 12″ EP. Still, they are both good. Before we go any further, and just in case you have never heard them, here is a track from this album:

Ok, I accept this is not for everybody. The video has 3.8k likes and 1.1k dislikes on youtube, which is a pretty bad ratio for a music video, but it is all rather left field and, frankly, who cares, it isn’t as bad as this:

bieber

Completely irrelevant comparison, you’re welcome.

So, Múm are Icelandic, it’s pronounced Moom in case you wondered, and were formed in 1997 by Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason, who were joined by twin sisters Gyða and Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir. According to Kristín, the band’s name was not intended to mean anything. Gyða left the band to return to her studies after the release of Finally We Are No One. In early 2006, Kristín also left the band, although it was not officially announced until 23 November of that year. With only Tynes and Smárason remaining in the group, a large group of new musicians were brought on board: guitarist/vocalist/violinist Ólöf Arnalds, trumpet/keyboard player Eiríkur Orri Ólafsson, vocalist/cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir, percussionist Samuli Kosminen, and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Mr. Silla.  The new collective of musicians recorded their fourth album during 2006; This one, Go Go Smear the Poison Ivy which released on 24 September 2007. Yes, always up to date me, just 11 years since its release.

There is only one official video related to this album but a couple of people made their own, which are below for your listening and viewing pleasure.

One of múm’s principal attractions for me is their approach to orchestration. No instrument seems to be off the table, from a parping accordion, a soft piano, a razor sharp violin harmonic. These can all appear in the same track but despite the potential pitfall of unlistenable cacophony, there always seems to be room in the soundscape they are creating for what they include. It is not often that one can suggest that music ‘Sparkles’, but with múm is seems an appropriate description, particularly on this album as they take acoustic instruments and electronic and merge them seamlessly together as wood growing into metal and becoming indistinct from each other.

 

Inside the gatefold cover there is a little pouch in which a 7″ single has been slipped containing the tracks ‘Guilty Rocks’ and ‘Winter (What We Never Were After All)’ which are two tracks that ar eon the CD version, so I assume they didn’t want to stretch everything out over a double album and went for this method instead, it works, the 7″ feels like a bonus. 

Tracklist

LP-A1 Blessed Brambles
LP-A2 A Little Bit Sometimes
LP-A3 They Made Frogs Smoke ‘Til They Exploded
LP-A4 Those Eyes Are Berries
LP-B1 Moon Pulls
LP-B2 Marmelade Fires
LP-B3 Rhuubarbidoo
LP-B4 Dancing Behind My Eyelids
LP-B5 School Song Misfortune
LP-B6 I Was Her Horse
7″-C Guilty Rocks
7″-D Winter (What We Never Were After All)

Rating: 8.8

Dizzee Rascal -Maths + English

IMG_7380

As most people should realise by now, I am more than a little bit Gangsta. By this I mean if Gangsta means that I am a white middle aged man variously with or without a beard who can often be found on a street where there is a record shop. So I suspect not gangsta at all really, and not street either or any of the current tags that are applied, I am a bit grime though.

So this was Dizzee Rascal’s third album, released in 2007 and spawning three singles, the first of which was Sirens, above. I was in a used record shop above an antiques centre in Stratford Upon Avon and it was in the ‘reduced’ box (Same shop I bought ‘The Raconteurs’ album the other day). It seemed one not to leave there to me, so I didn’t. The album was one of the 12 nominees for the 2007 Mercury Prize, which ultimately went to Klaxons‘ album Myths of the Near Future, hmmmm, I’m tempted to……… yup, let’s do it, let’s look at those 12 nominees:

Arctic Monkeys – Favourite Worst Nightmare
Basquiat Strings with Seb Rochford – Basquiat Strings
Bat for Lashes – Fur and Gold
Dizzee Rascal – Maths + English
Maps – We Can Create
New Young Pony Club – Fantastic Playroom
Fionn Regan – The End of History
Jamie T – Panic Prevention
The View – Hats Off to the Buskers
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black
Young Knives – Voices of Animals and Men

I’m not saying Dizzee  Rascal should have won, but including Maths + English I can see three albums that I think are better than the winner. Nothing against The Klaxons, it was just an odd choice of winner from my perspective.

So I will probably get a copy of the two albums before this now because I do rather like Dizzee, or Mr. Rascal as he insists I call him. He did something with Robbie Williams at some point, that worries me a bit as I’m not a fan of Williams, but I haven’t listened to that so won’t comment. Below is the third and final single from the album.

Tracklist

A1 World Outside
A2 Pussyole (Old Skool)
A3 Sirens
B1 Where’s Da G’s
B2 Paranoid
B3 Suk My Dick
B4 Flex
C1 Da Feelin’
C2 Bubbles
C3 Excuse Me Please
D1 Hardback (Industry)
D2 Temptation
D3 Wanna Be
D4 U Can’t Tell Me Nuffin’

Rating: 8.6

Discogs Decides

The Discogs App random record selector today chose this:

IMG_7354

So that is exactly what I am listening to because I am obedient and do what I’m told by simple computer programs.

Tracklist

A1 Redshape Instrument (Redshape Remix)
A2 Marvin & Guy Un-no (Marvin & Guy Brown Eyes Remix)
B1 Lee Gamble Brainwash (Lee Gamble Reconstruction)
B2 Dark Sky (2) Translate (Dark Sky ‘Psych’ Remix
C1 Vril (2) Paralyzer (VRIL Remix)
C2 Marvin & Guy Un-no (Marvin & Guy Blue Eyes Remix)
D1 Dark Sky (2) Translate (Dark Sky “Pressure” Remix
D2 Marvin & Guy Un-no (Marvin & Guy Black Eyes Remix)
D3 Beatrice Dillon Infinity (Beatrice Dillon Remix)

Secretly Canadian RSD 2017 release.

Miles Davis – In A Silent Way

I have a few Miles Davis albums, and a few years ago I was given 350 of them as MP3’s, though I only listened to a few, 350 albums is a stupid number and I’d never have been able to get through all of them and give them the listening time they deserved. Though it was one of the 350, I have never listened to In A Silent Way before, even though it was released in 1969 and is now approaching 50 years old.

IMG_7313

My copy, that’s it up there, is not in perfect condition, although it is a 1969 European pressing, which is why it isn’t in perfect condition I should think. There are crackly bits here and there and the cover has a bit of a crease in it, however, I still love it.

As I enjoy ambient music, film scores and instrumental post rock this album sits really well with me, it is not inaccessible as some Jazz can be, I’m not sure it is even Jazz at all to be honest. I don’t find it jarring or particularly dissonant, it is intricate but, as the title suggest, in a silent way.

By 1969 jazz music was widely regarded as largely irrelevant and Miles Davis had become one of yesterdays men having once been one of the coolest men on planet earth. The release of In A Silent Way changed all that and established Davis as the first major jazz artist to crossover to a more rock orientated audience. The album was recorded in a single session on February 18th 1969 and is considered by some to be a blueprint for ambient music that later followed.

Better writers than me have written pages and pages about this album, one of which was Lester Bangs, writing for Rolling Stone: “the kind of album that gives you faith in the future of music. It is not rock and roll, but it’s nothing stereotyped as jazz either. All at once, it owes almost as much to the techniques developed by rock improvisors in the last four years as to Davis’ jazz background. It is part of a transcendental new music which flushes categories away and, while using musical devices from all styles and cultures, is defined mainly by its deep emotion and unaffected originality

He’s not wrong. It is an extraordinary piece of music and I find myself getting lost in it, in a good way. I don’t even think of it as an album primarily by a jazz trumpeter, so full is it of great musicianship that all the instruments are balanced and shift from background to foreground quite effortlessly.  Who were these musicians?

  • Bass – Dave Holland
  • Drums – Tony Williams
  • Electric Piano – Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock
  • Engineer – Russ Payne, Stan Tonkel
  • Guitar – John McLaughlin
  • Organ, Electric Piano – Josef Zawinul
  • Producer – Teo Macero
  • Tenor Saxophone – Wayne Shorter
  • Trumpet – Miles Davis

I have been listening to the album a lot over the last week, including on the drive to work the other morning, which is potentially dangerous as I found myself sinking into my own thoughts and driving several miles without quite knowing how I got to where I was. This is something that can happen with reasonable frequency for people who do a lot of driving, but it seems much more likely to occur with this album playing on the journey.

I may be caught up in the joy of discovery, so I will give my rating for this album with a side note that it may be reviewed at a later date, but for me, right now?

Rating: 9.9

 

 

 

Gary Numan – Exile

Exile is the thirteenth solo studio album by Gary Numan, released in October 1997 by Eagle Records. I have difficulty with this, namely that it was 21 bloody years ago, I can’t reconcile with this timespan at all, ten I could accept, but 21, it seems so damn long ago. I was still, just, in my twenty’s. I bought it a couple of years ago and I have only just looked to see what year it was released, hence my difficulty coming to terms with it being 1997.

Its release continued a critical upswing in Numan’s career which had begun three years earlier with the release of Sacrifice. This album is loosely conceptual, based on God and the Devil being two sides of the same coin, not denying God, but questioning whether God is entirely a force for good. Shorty after the release of the album Numan was quoted as saying: “Personally, I don’t believe in God at all, but if I’m wrong and there is a God, what kind of god would it be who would give us the world we live in?

The opening track, Dominion Day, is basically gothic/industrial rock and everything that follows is in the same tone. It’s a mine that he has been digging from the late 90’s until today, and very successfully at times. The track describes a man’s nightmare becoming reality as Christ returns to Earth in scenes reminiscent of the Book of Revelations.

Dark explores Numan’s premise of an incestuous relationship between God and the Devil.  The track was widely used for movie trailers before actually appearing in one,  Alex Proyas’ Dark City.

Dead Heaven is a different telling of biblical tales with Mary not being revered by the three wise men, but ravaged and Absolution muses on the consequences of unquestioning faith.

Thought I saw love
Sacrificed
Mary under three wise men
Thought I saw the Virgin look at me and cry

Exile received some very positive reviews at the time of release but wasn’t a chart success, though the accompanying tour was very well attended. Some fans who had been put off by Sacrifice’s (The previous release)  anti-religious undertones were further alienated by the subject matter and lyrics of Exile. The website remindmetosmile.com (now defunct) changed from a tribute page to one openly critical of Numan for being “so bold that he feels he can mock God and feel good about it“. Numan’s response was:

This sort of reaction always amazes me. Here you have people that genuinely believe that God created this entire bloody universe in just six days, without anybody’s help, and yet they seem to think that He needs their help to deal with little me. If God was bothered about me, He would deal with me“.

I find the reaction of the fans rather odd as, if you go all the way back to Replicas in 1979 the guy is singing, in Down In The Park, about rape machines, which those who were complaining about being mean to God, were presumably absolutely fine about.

You can watch the humans
Trying to run
Oh look there’s a rape machine
I’d go outside if he’d look the other way

There are several youtube videos of the Exile tour but the quality is bloody awful so I won’t share them here, go seek them out if they are of interest.

The album, a double on 180g Grey vinyl was selling for £8 in the now defunct local record store, I still think it was a bargain as it is full of really good songs, not very cheerful songs it’s true, but still good. I wouldn’t put it on at a party unless I wanted everybody to get on a bit of a downer and leave. Also, it didn’t originally receive a vinyl release, there was a pressing in 2008 and the one I have is 2012. Originally it was CD or cassette only.

This and the previous album were very much the beginning of Numan’s upward trajectory although he would not reach the superstar status of his early years he has carved out a place for himself in modern music by not relying on those early releases and insisting on always moving forward by releasing new material and touring it. Recently there have been full album tours, which has been in vogue of late, but he has said himself that sometimes you have to give the people what they want, but he is still putting new music out there and stands or falls by it.

He mostly stands.

Rating: 8.8

 

Belle & Sebastian ‎– How To Solve Our Human Problems (Parts 1 – 3)

One way to make a bit more money from releasing an album on vinyl is to do so as 3 12″ singles rather than as a triple album, which would seem more of an investment even though it would actually be cheaper than the three 12″ singles. Anyway, that’s what Belle & Sebastian seem to have done with their latest releases, How To Solve Our Human Problems Parts 1, 2 & 3. They are about £10 each so the whole thing is (I am going to do this very complicated calculation for you) £30, a triple album would probably be somewhere around £25 and maybe it could have all been squeezed onto a double, which would have been less again. It may be on three EP’s for an entirely different reason of course, they may just not work together as a single entity and the pacing of the E.P’s doesn’t feel right if you play them back to back as one album (which is most easily achieved by streaming them rather than playing the actual records).

 

I picked up two of the EP’s at Rapture in Witney, they didn’t have all three, so I got one from Amazon as well. I could hardly have only two of a three EP set now could I? The answer is yes, I could, and also no, because I would just end up getting it in 3 years time for three times the price.

I haven’t really listened to much Belle & Sebastian that was released after 2003, the last thing being Dear Catastrophe Waitress. There is no particular reason for that, I just never got around to it, I still really like a lot of that earlier work, particularly If You’re Feeling Sinister, which is a brilliant album. I’ll get around to the bits in between eventually.

So this album/EP set, the songs are great, I really enjoyed it as a whole and was a bit surprised to hear how some of the tracks are quite dance orientated, such as Poor Boy, the opening track of the 3rd EP with it’s Wes Andersonesque accompanying video:

It’s a killer single isn’t it?

It is a collection of really good songs delivered in the Belle & Sebastian way but often with a more modern aesthetic and this seems the right direction to go in to me as they can’t keep putting out the same album they did 20 years ago over and over again.

There appears to have been a single taken from each EP, the two above and, what is for me, probably my favourite track from the collection, ‘We Were Beautiful’.

I was blank as I could be
Hearing voices telling me
“Walk away from everything”
But where was I meant to go?
Far away from those I know
To some desolate below
We were in the uber scene
Where they grind the coffee bean
Where the women are oblique
And the boys are paper thin
Ragged beards upon their chin
We were on the outside looking in
Rise above the present day
Rise above the popular melee
I see you the way you are
I see you, the star
We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful before we got wise
We were beautiful with sky and blanket laying low
I am hanging on the line
I’m on duty all the time
I am your Samaritan on call
I could try my best to heal
All the emptiness you feel
In the giving, I will be alive
We were wrapped around our roots
Nothing on except our boots
We were intimate around the waist
We were settling our scores
We were healing over sores
We were living out the pleasure that we lost
We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful for all of time and space
I will tell it to the sun and I will tell it to
If you listen to the night
We can hear the madmen fight
Hear the foxes making out
But the people all immune
Sleeping silent in their rooms
Growing bodies with their sleep
Making plans inside their heads
Making love to shallow friends
Shallow friends
You are not too old to change
Happy only comes after the pain of you and me
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful before we got wise
We were beautiful with sky and blanket fading out
We were beautiful before this went down
We were beautiful before the years came
And turned it upside down
We were beautiful for all of time and space
I will tell it to the sun and I will tell it to your face

The video is described as life experienced at different speeds as the city wakes up over a Saturday morning. Filmed throughout Glasgow, from Crookston in the south-west, through the City Centre to Easterhouse and Cranhill.

EP 1

1. Sweet Dew Lee
2. We Were Beautiful
3. Fickle Season
4. The Girl Doesn’t Get It
5. Everything Is Now

EP 2

6. Show Me The Sun
7. Same Star
8. I’ll Be Your Pilot
9. Cornflakes
10. A Plague On All Other Boys

EP 3

11. Poor Boy
12. Everything Is Now (Part Two)
13. Too Many Tears
14. There Is An Everlasting Song
15. Best Friend

Rating: 9.0

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry – Open The Gate

On the wall of the used record store there was a Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry triple LP box set. It had been there for about a month and was priced at £30. Every time I went in I looked at it and every time I put it back. Buying things from the wall is not my usual style as they are usually in the higher price bracket. On my last visit the price had been reduced to £20, so I took the plunge and I’m damn glad I did as this Trojan compilation is fabulous.

Don’t know who he is? Well, Lee “Scratch” Perry OD (The Order of Distinction is a national order in the Jamaican honours system) is a Jamaican music producer noted for his innovative studio techniques and production style. Perry was a pioneer in the 1970s development of dub music with his early adoption of remixing and studio effects to create new instrumental or vocal versions of existing reggae tracks. He has worked with and produced for a wide variety of artists, including Bob Marley and the Wailers, Junior Murvin, the Congos, Max Romeo, Adrian Sherwood, the Beastie Boys, Ari Up, and many others.

 

 

For a triple album it doesn’t look that track heavy, but a lot of the tracks sort of merge into a dub version with little or no warning so Side A is longer than it looks, and Vampire is a fabulous track running to about 10 minutes (The video above is all three records, sound quality is better at home with the record playing). It is a great compilation of rare extended versions of tracks recorded in Scratch’s black ark studio in the mid to late 70’s.  I’ve read that this is the best of the Trojan label’s Perry box sets – supposedly better than “Build the Ark” or the “Upsetter Box Set“, however, I haven’t heard either of those so can only pass along somebody else’s comment.

Tracklist

A1 Anthony “Sangie” Davis & Lee Perry Words
A2 Devon Irons & Dr. Alimantado Vampire
B1 The Heptones Babylon Falling
B2 The Upsetters Babylon Falling Version
B3 The Heptones Mistry Babylon
B4 The Upsetters Mistry Babylon Version
B5 Leroy Sibbles Garden Of Life
C1 Carlton Jackson History
C2 Junior Delgado Sons Of Slaves
C3 Watty Burnett Open The Gate
D1 The Diamonds Talk About It
D2 The Upsetters Yam – A – Ky
D3 Eric Donaldson Cherry Oh Baby
D4 Watty Burnett Rainy Night In Portland
E1 Horace Smart & The Upsetters Ruffer Ruff & Ruffer Dub
E2 The Congos Neckodeemus
E3 The Twin Roots Know Love
F1 Lee Perry City Too Hot
F2 Lee Perry Bionic Rats
F3 Junior Murvin Bad Weed

This was not on my list of Trojan releases that I was looking for, but sticking to a list can be both a good and a bad thing, in this case it would have been bad, I’m glad I got this and at a decent price.

Rating: 9.1

Rodriguez – Coming From Reality

I was at work yesterday and an album arrived from Amazon. An album that I hadn’t ordered. Turns out that my son had the bare faced cheek to go into my Amazon account and bloody order things. Now it is true that he has permission to do so and further true that he went into my Amazon want list and chose a record from there and further further true that he paid for it using his own bank card as a surprise for me, but really, that child is out of control!

So it was an album by Rodriguez, the one that I think was never actually properly released, or had limited release, but has been now that he has been rediscovered. Let’s go through a bit of Rodriguez history for those that have never heard of him.

Sixto Diaz Rodriguez, known professionally as Rodriguez (born July 10, 1942), is an American singer-songwriter from Detroit, Michigan. His career initially proved short lived in the United States, but unknown to Rodriguez his albums became extremely successful and influential in South Africa, where sales of his records outnumbered those of Elvis Presley. Because of scarce information about Rodriguez, it was incorrectly rumoured there that he had committed suicide shortly after releasing his first album.

In the 1990s, determined South African fans managed to find and contact Rodriguez, which led to an unexpected revival of his musical career. This was told in the 2012 Academy Award–winning documentary film Searching for Sugar Man and helped give Rodriguez a measure of fame in his home country. In May 2013, Rodriguez received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree from his alma mater, Wayne State University, in Detroit.

Rodriguez has been living in Detroit’s historic Woodbridge neighbourhood, through which he is seen walking in Searching for Sugar Man. He is known to live a simple life, possessing no telephone or cell phone of his own, and occasionally visiting bars in the Cass Corridor section of Detroit near Woodbridge and Midtown Detroit, such as the Old Miami pub, where he has performed live concerts for small local crowds.

There are only two official studio albums, the first being Cold Fact and the second being this one. Obviously I thanked my son and discovered when doing so that he had no idea what he was ordering for me so I suggested he listen to the track Sugar Man, which he did, and really liked, fairly describing Rodriguez as Dylan if Dylan could sing properly.

Though not on this album, it is the obvious first track to listen to:

 

Tracklist
A1 Climb Up On My Music 4:54
A2 A Most Disgusting Song 4:49
A3 I Think Of You 3:26
A4 Heikki’s Suburbia Bus Tour 3:23
A5 Silver Words? 2:05

B1 Sandrevan Lullaby-Lifestyles 6:37
B2 To Whom It May Concern 3:22
B3 It Started Out So Nice 4:01
B4 Halfway Up The Stairs 2:28
B5 Cause 5:30

His debut album is his best album but there is still some gold on this release among the tracks that, while still good, seemed to see Rodriguez trying to re-position himself to take advantage of the singer/songwriter boom of the time. There are parallels here with Nick Drake but Rodriguez is still alive and has started gigging again.

rodriquez

Neither of his albums are available on streaming services, though the soundtrack to the film is, so if you use any of those services you can listen to those tracks at least.

The album was recorded in London with producer Steve Rowland (He’s the guy who would later discover and sign the Cure), The production lacked the grittiness of the first album, which was possibly intentional but results in there seeming to be something a little lacking.  Opener “Climb Up on My Music” is a mellow, organ-heavy track with a screaming guitar riff and “Halfway Up the Stairs” a sweet, cheesy 70s soft rock vibe. There are more strings than perhaps are necessary in places but the man still manages to shine through and I get the sense that had the first album taken off then this follow up would have been an entirely different affair as there would be no search for the sound that he thought the public wanted.

Back in 2013 he played Glastonbury, and by the wonders of modern technology, here is that performance:

rod

Rating: 8.6

 

Owen Gray – Reggae With Soul

My current obsession is with Trojan records and I have, despite knowing it is a terrible idea that will only lead to disappointment for me and pain for my wallet, begun looking for some of the early releases that are really rather difficult to find nowadays. I have made my first purchase, which is currently in tranist so I haven’t received it yet, and it is by Owen Gray, the 1969 album Reggae With Soul. The copy I bought is 48 years old so I have my doubts about how well it will play but the seller listed the vinyl as excellent so there’s hope. It normally sells for about £35 but my copy was £10, which is why I have some doubts but can’t really pre-judge.

r-4040502-1353254873-7533-jpeg

Just look at that cover, it is filled with happy. Owen Gray is one of Jamaica’s ‘Foundation’ singers whose work spans the R&B, ska, rocksteady, and reggae eras of Jamaican music, and he has been credited as Jamaica’s first home-grown singing star.

Gray won his first talent contest at the age of nine, and by the age of twelve he was already appearing in public, playing drums, guitar, and keyboards. He attended the Alpha Boys a-225777-1433596780-5275-jpegSchool and turned professional aged 19. Gray was a dynamic performer on stage, who could be gritty or suave as the song dictated. He was the first singer (of many) to praise a sound system on record, with his “On the Beach” celebrating Clement Dodd’s Sir Coxsone Downbeat system in 1959, one of the first releases on Dodd’s Studio One label. He was one of the first artists to be produced by Chris Blackwell, in 1960, and his “Patricia” single was the first record ever released by Island Records. His first single, “Please Let Me Go”, reached the top of the charts in Jamaica, and featured a guitar solo from Australian musician Dennis Sindrey who was a member of The Caribs, a studio band that played on many early Owen Gray recordings. The single also sold well in the United Kingdom, as did subsequent releases, prompting Gray to emigrate there in 1962. He toured Europe in 1964, and by 1966 he was well known as a soul singer as well as for his ska songs. During 1966, he worked in the UK and Europe with The Krew, then in 1967 with Tony Knights Chessmen. In the rocksteady era, he recorded for producer Sir Clancy Collins. His popularity continued throughout the 1960s, working with producers such as Clement Dodd, Prince Buster, Arthur “Duke” Reid, Leslie Kong, and Clancy Eccles, including work as a duo with Millie Small, with songs ranging from ska to ballads. He continued to record regularly, having a big hit in 1968 with “Cupid”. His 1970 track “Apollo 12” found favour with the early skinheads, and in 1972 he returned to Island Records, recording reggae versions of The Rolling Stones’ “Tumblin’ Dice” and John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”, although they met with little success. 

During this period, he regularly had releases on Pama and sister label, Camel Records, and one single on Hot Lead Records. He had greater success in Jamaica, however, with “Hail the Man”, a tribute to Emperor Haile Selassie, which was popular with the increasing Rastafari following. Gray spent a short time living in New Orleans before returning to Jamaica where he turned his hand to roots reggae, working with producer Bunny Lee, and achieving considerable success. In the 1980s relocated to Miami. He has continued to release new material regularly, often concentrating on ballads and Gospel music.

Side 1:

Side 2:

It’s surprising how far back I’ve been listening to some of the songs that were originally released in the late 60’s and early 70’s. There’s a load that I first heard by The Specials, here’s a list:

Gangsters (an interpretation of): Al Capone – Prince Buster
A Message To You Rudy – Dandy Livingstone
Too Much Too Young (an interpretation of): Birth Control – Lloyd Charmers
Guns of Navarone – The Skatalites
Longshot Kick De Bucket – The Pioneers
Liquidator – Harry J Allstars
Skinhead Moonstomp – Symarip
Rude Buoys Outa Jail (an interpretation of): Rude Boy Gone A Jail – Desmond Baker & The Clarendonians
Do The Dog (an interpretation of): The Dog – Rufus Thomas
Too Hot – Prince Buster
Monkey Man – Toots & The Maytals
Stupid Marriage (an interpretation of): Judge Dread – Prince Buster
You’re Wondering Now – Andy and Joey
Enjoy Yourself – Prince Buster
Sock It To ‘Em JB – Rex Garvin and The Mighty Cravers

Then there are the Prince Buster tracks covered by Madness, The Prince which is an interpretation of Earthquake, Madness and One Step Beyond. There are covers by The Selecter, The Bodysnatchers and The Beat, but at the time I, and many others, had no idea these were other peoples songs.

Some of the songs I remember from when they were originally released, Everything I Own by Ken Booth for example, lots of Jimmy Cliff and things like Anthea & Donna Uptown Top Ranking, which was considered a bit of a novelty by many when it was released, myself included, but damn it was catchy and ting. There’s Wonderful World, Beautiful People by Jimmy Cliff, I remember that and I’ve convinced myself I heard Young Gifted & Black by Bob & Marcia at some point.

There was Israelites by Desmond Dekker and The Aces which I first remember hearing when being used for a Maxell Tapes advert in the early eighties, where they took the mickey out of the lyrics, I just looked for it, this is it:

Get up in the morning, slaving for bread, sir
So that every mouth can be fed
Poor me Israelites, ah

Just because I’m on the subject, the one where they used Into The Valley by The Skids was pretty funny, “There’s masses of Lamb”:

This all started again when I bought a used copy of The Harder They Come soundtrack by Jimmy Cliff, having liked it so much I started looking out for more in the same genre, a potential mistake as there is just so much to go at, so this needs a structured approach to avoid having to re-mortgage the house.

The fairly new music magazine Long Live Vinyl has a section in this months issue which viiis the 50 best Trojan Records releases, so that has now become my list, not that I expect to find all of them, but it is a decent steer as to where to begin.

I’m not going to list all 50, that is what the magazine is for but I will list out what my initial targets are along with the expected cost of an original and whether there is a re-issue available as Trojan have been through a re-issue program to celebrate their 50th anniversary. There was one bit of the accompanying article that I found quite interesting which was how quick the turnaround of the original 45’s was. Trojan is a British label and in the early days they would be down the local London market stalls listening out for whatever was new from Jamaica, the tracks that people were talking about from the previous weekend, and would press a couple of hundred of them within a week and then distribute them by hand before doing the whole thing again. I think this was when they were still Island Records, which Trojan was born from. Anyway, that list:

r-2844518-1428367085-5834-jpeg

The Pioneers – Long Shot (1969) Original £35, Re-issue £20
Jimmy Cliff – Jimmy Cliff (1969) £20/£18
Desmond Dekkar – This is Desmond Dekkar (1969) £30/£20
Rico & The Rudies – Blow Your Horn (1969) £35/£20
The Ethiopians – Reggae Power (1969) £40/No Re-Issue
John Holt – 1000 Volts of Holt (1973) £20/£12
Ken Boothe – Everything I Own (1974) £20/£18

So that’s the starting point. There are many others which I will still be looking out for but that is looking like £150 right there, one has to at least give the impression of being sensible, right?

 

Charity Shop visit

Popped into a couple of Charity shops at lunch time where I usually find some oddities or oldies that I fancy listening to, had a bit better luck today though, check it out:

Teenagers have no taste, quite rightly

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about albums I used to own but don’t own anymore. I really have no clue what happened to most of them and their absence means I never really think about them so it’s actually quite difficult to recall what I did and didn’t have. Every now and again a memory will pop up for any number of reasons, not least of which are a couple of Facebook groups where people post pictures of the records they are currently playing and I’ll be scrolling disinterestedly past and suddenly see something and the realisation will come that I bloody well used to have that.

Exactly this happened last week when I was scrolling, scrolling. scrolling and suddenly stopped on this album cover:
kiss-alive-ii-magnet-m1870

I bloody well had this! I remember having it, though where the hell I got it from I don’t know, then I remember not having it, so where the hell it went I don’t know either. What I do know is that I loved it at the time, so I was probably > 13 but < 16, a very specific time frame within the teen years. Looking back at it now I can appreciate that if you took away the makeup and the costumes, the pyrotechnics etc. then it would be an entirely different proposition than what it was, because in that teen age bracket, it was bloody brilliant, it really was. KISS came along at just the right time with the advent of Stadium Rock where radio stations and promoters were looking for bands to fill large venues. The make-up and the personae were bang on for the early to mid seventies with glam rock breaking around the same time. The music itself, bog ordinary Rock ‘N’ Roll packed full of sexual innuendo, again, bang on for the teen time frame. I loved it.

I don’t know if anybody else remembers how special the discovery of new music was back before the internet when it was all word of mouth or from Sounds, NME or Melody Maker, but it had a different feel about it, as though by discovering it entirely for yourself pretty much with very little to go on it made it’s discovery more special and, odd though it may sound, there was a sort of glow about it, but it was an audio glow. It’s very difficult to describe but this is what happened when I played this album. There were only ever the smallest snippets of information about the band and they would never be on the TV or radio, at least not in the UK, so it was like being part of a secret club in some ways.

I make no apology for liking KISS, or at least early KISS (Unmasked was the latest album I’ve owned and that was 1980, which means I was 13 and I had Alive II first, so maybe I was 11 or 12 when I got it) because, even though to many it is tasteless shite, it was a part of what shaped my tastes and helped me on the path to enjoying, to different degrees, almost everything!

I mean, be honest, if you were a teenage boy you’d lap this shit up wouldn’t you?

Oh, and yes, I bought a replacement copy. Shut up.

 

Spinning some 45’s

Sunday afternoons are a good time to spin a few 45’s, starting with this one:

IMG_0658

Tricky ft PJ Harvey – Broken Homes (B-Side)
Gary Numan – I Die You Die
The Sisters of Mercy – Temple of Love (1992)
The Dickies – Banana Splits
Talking Heads – Once In A lifetime
Depeche Mode – Just Can’t Get Enough
Blondie – Dreaming
The Tubes – White Punks On Dope
The Raconteurs – Steady As She goes
Sinead O’Connor – Jump In The River (B- Side)
The Cure – The Exploding Boy (B-Side)
David Bowie – Cracked Actor – (B-Side)
Echo & The Bunnymen – The Killing Moon
Martha & The Muffins – Echo Beach
Black Uhuru – The Great Train Robbery
Spiritualized – Soul On Fire
Bjork & David Arnold – Play Dead
Siouxsie & The Banshees – Christine
John Foxx – Underpass
Mogwai -Party In The Dark
Lena Lovich – Joan
Catatonia _ Game On
David Bowie – DJ
Killing Joke – Sanity
P.I.L. – Rise
Prince – When Doves Cry
The Smiths – The Boy With The Thorn In His Side

https://open.spotify.com/embed/user/1136278651/playlist/1MiMPfu9CXy8hQitsl7Kvv

This is why I’ve never been asked to DJ at a wedding, the dance floor would rarely be occupied, which, in a way,I’d be quite pleased about.

IMG_9257

 

Kate Bush – The Kick Inside

IMG_2701.JPG

One of the best debut albums ever I should think.

It’s incredible to me that she was only 19 years old. and had written some of the songs when she was only 13. I was 11 when this came out and was very weirded out by her top of the pops appearance performing Wuthering Heights as I, and pretty much everybody else, had never heard anything like it before. I think that, early on, the TV sketches taking the mickey out of her detracted from just how extraordinary she was, although perhaps that the sketches existed at all were testament to the impact she made.

So that one was actually quite clever but the next one, by Faith Brown is shite, I never found her funny so perhaps it’s just me but everything she did was just really obvious I thought and her impressions were tosh:

Anyway, enough of all that. Here is the full album, using a lot of live performances.It was quite a while ago so the film quality varies but it is all quite listenable.

It really is a quite extraordinary set of songs, some of which have very strong hooks and some are a little more contemplative and warrant a more concentrated listen as lyrically they really are very interesting.

SIDE 1

Track 1: Moving 3:08

Dedicated to Lindsay Kemp, a dance instructor, who inspired her to use her body in videos to represent her songs. The use of Whale song is, according to an interview with Sounds; “Whales say everything about ‘moving’. It’s huge and beautiful, intelligent, soft inside a tough body. It weighs a ton and yet it’s so light it floats. It’s the whole thing about human communication—’moving liquid, yet you are just as water’—what the Chinese say about being the cup the water moves in to. The whales are pure movement and pure sound, calling for something, so lonely and sad …”

Moving liquid, yes, you are just as water
You flow around all that comes in your way
Don’t think it over, it always takes you over
And sets your spirit dancing

Track 2: The Saxophone Song 3:44

This was one of her earliest compositions, written when she was about fifteen, in an interview she said “…I love saxophones so I wanted to write a song about them… The perfect setting was this smokey bar in Berlin with nobody listening except me in the corner…”

A surly lady in tremor 
The stars that climb from her bowels
Those stars make towers on vowels
You’ll never know that you had all of me
You’ll never see the poetry you’ve stirred in me
Of all the stars I’ve seen that shine so brightly
I’ve never known or felt, in myself, so rightly

Track 3: Strange Phenomena 2:58

This track speaks about déjà vu, synchronicity and how coincidences sometimes cluster together in seemingly meaningful ways. It has been described as a ‘frank paean to menstruation” by The Guardian.

Soon it will be the phase of the moon
When people tune in
Every girl knows about the punctual blues
But who’s to know the power
Behind our moves 

Track4: Kite 3:00

On the one hand, The narrator is tired of life and stress and wishes she were a kite so she could fly and not have worries. Her wish is granted but she soon longs for the safety ground again. On the other hand, this song is about a sacramental mushroom experience, specifically amanita muscaria. “Beelzebub” is a nickname for this fungus and it is mentioned in the Bible. I suspect it is the latter:

Beelzebub is aching in my belly-o
My feet are heavy and I’m rooted in my wellios
And I want to get away and go
From all these mirror windows

Track 5: The Man With The Child In His Eyes 2:40

She explained this song herself when interviewed on TV: “Oh! well it, its something that I feel about men generally (sorry about this folks) that a lot of men have got a child inside of them, you know? they’re more or less just …grown up kids… and that its… its a very… (delayed laughter from audience), no, no! its a very, very good quality… its really good because a lot of women grow up and get far too responsible and its really nice to keep that delight in wonderful things that children have, and thats what i was trying to say;… that this man can communicate with a younger girl because… he’s on the same level”

I hear him, 
Before I go to sleep,
And focus on the day that’s been,
I realize he’s there,
When I turn the light off,
And turn over,
Nobody knows about my man,
They think he’s lost on some horizon

Track 6: Wuthering Heights 4:25

This is based on Emily Bronte’s classic book of the same name. The song pretty much tells the same story as the book, only at a much higher pitch. In the book, two young people, Catherine and Heathcliff, are brought together and become lovers. Along the way, they struggle with issues of class and family. Wuthering Heights was Bronte’s only novel, although she did publish some poems.

This was a huge hit of course, and I’ve heard it many hundreds of times, but some chap slowed it down so it is 36 minutes long and it turns into a quite extraordinary soundscape that I wouldn’t mind having a copy of, listen for yourself:

SIDE 2:

Track 1: James And The Cold Gun 3:33

EMI wanted this to be the first single taken from the album but Bush insisted it be Wuthering Heights, she was right of course, but this is still one of my favourite tracks of hers. The song was inspired by a contemporary thriller, The Day Of The Jackal. Based on the book of the same name by English author Frederick Forsyth, well that’s one interpretation anyway.

James, come on home
You’ve been gone too long baby
We can’t let our hero die alone
We miss you day and night
You left town to live by the rifle
You left us to fight
But it just ain’t right to take away the light

Track 2: Feel It 3:04

In this track Bush sings openly about sexuality, “It’s not such an open thing for women to be physically attracted to the male body and fantasize about it,” she told Phil Sutcliffe in 1980. “To me the male body is absolutely beautiful.”  Bush added that with this and a few other songs, she expressed desire, “so bottled up you have to relieve it, as if you were crying.”

After the party, you took me back to your parlour
A little nervous laughter
Locking the door
My stockings fall onto the floor
Desperate for more
Nobody else can share this
Here comes one and one makes one
The glorious union, well, it could be love
Or it could be just lust
But it will be fun
It will be wonderful

Track 3: Oh To Be In Love 3:19

The feeling of being in love with someone and never being able to fall out of love with them, but becoming trapped in this situation. How it can be anyone at anytime, a completely random event.

I could have been anyone
You could have been anyone’s dream
Why did you have to choose our moment?
Why did you have to make me feel that?
Why did you make it so unreal? 

Track 4: L’Amour Looks Something Like You 2:27

Almost certainly about a one night stand, but who really knows with Kate Bush, it could have an entirely different meaning.

You came out of the night
Wearing a mask in white colour
My eyes were shining on the wine
And your aura
All in order we move into the boudoir
But too soon the morning has resumed 

Track 5: Them Heavy People 3:05

It could be that she is singing about being in therapy, getting help from ‘heavy people’ therapist, psychologists, a lot of heavy talking to work on your mind. Rolling the ball to you because it’s always up to you yourself to do the hard work in therapy. Of course it could be a dozen other things, maybe actually having several meanings.

Rolling the ball, rolling the ball, rolling the ball to me
They arrived at an inconvenient time
I was hiding in a room in my mind
They made me look at myself
I saw it well, I’d shut the people out of my life
So now I take the opportunities
Wonderful teachers ready to teach me
I must work on my mind
For now I realise that everyone of us
Has a heaven inside 

Track 6: Room For The Life 4:03

She may be going against the position of many second-wave feminists in this song,  saying that women shouldn’t get down on themselves because of men, or it could be about about the womb, or both.

Hey there you lady in tears
Do you think that they care if they’re real, woman?
They just take it as part of the deal
Lost in your men and the games you play
Trying to prove that you’re better, woman
But you needn’t get heavy with them
Like it or not, we were built tough
Because we’re woman

Track 7: The Kick Inside 3:37

The original demo version of this track refers to “Lizzie Wan” (alternately “Lucy Wan”) is an 18th-century English/Irish folk ballad, best known as The Ballad of Lizzie Wan, which recounts the tragedy of Lizzie Wan, who falls in love with her brother and then kills herself while carrying his child. This doesn’t mean that this happened to her but she has always been very close to her brother and it could well be about feelings rather than actions.

I’m giving it all in a moment for you.
I’m giving it all in a moment or two.
I’m giving it all, giving it, giving it.
The kicking here inside
Makes me leave you behind.
No more under the quilt
To keep you warm.
Your sister I was born. Lose me.
You must lose me like an arrow,
Shot into the killer storm.

All of the above interpretations could be rubbish of course, and what is really important is what a song means to each listener and how they interpret it.

The US cover of the album is less interesting than the UK one I think and I don’t know why it had to be different, this is it, Kate Bush in a box:

r-10466377-1498005869-1733-jpeg

Apparently Tori Amos pays homage to this US cover with her debut, Little Earthquakes:

r-2272469-1274391699-jpeg

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been listening to tracks from this album since 1978, that’s 40 years. I didn’t own it when it was first released, 11year olds don’t have that much disposable income, and I can’t remember when I got it but its been a lot of years now. A brilliant album.

Rating: 9.6

 

 

Bjork – The cube is full

I took rather a lot of time arranging my albums in alphabetical order and, in some cases, I’ve got it wrong or made contrary decisions based on band names, first letter? First letter of last word or surname? It’s near enough at the moment but I’ll have to attend to it at some point as it is a bit irritating. The one area that was particularly easy was the Bjork cube, it took up a section on its own with a bit of room left over for anything new. Something new arrived, it is now pretty much full, see for yourself:

IMG_7142

That doesn’t include The Sugarcubes, because they are S, but it could I suppose. This basically means that either Bjork is no longer allowed to release any more records or I will have to creep into the next cube along and do a bit of re-shuffling. Tough one, who knows how that will turn out.

The last thing to slip into the Bjork cube was last weeks release of the Blissing Me remixes.

r-11600988-1519649662-4371-jpeg

I haven’t had an opportunity to play it yet, but it is a lovely artefact, including printing inside the cover, where it won’t even be seen, nice attention to detail that and something that she has done before.

Apparently this is one of the tracks, received a lot of negatives on youtube but I really haven’t listened at all.

 

 

 

 

FKA Twigs

fka-twigs

I have been very remiss as I have been listening to FKA Twigs for 4 years now (I was just looking at LP1 and was shocked to realise it was so long since it was released) and haven’t talked about it at all really. She pops up in a couple of posts but that’s all. I need to correct this omission as I think she is absolutely marvellous and I’ve played that album to death.

I have just checked and I have all her releases to vinyl except one that was limited to 500 copies and self released, which I might see if I can pick up at some point.  Let’s begin at the beginning with her first release, EP1.

r-4088808-1460055543-8994-jpeg

Originally self released in 2012 (I have the re-release from 2017) with a white label in a white sleeve on black vinyl and containing 4 tracks:

Tracklist

Weak Spot
Ache
Breathe
Hide

I actually heard the tracks off this after I heard the next three releases and I rather liked the whispered vocals of opener Weak Spot and the instrumentation behind it. She has a 1188422rather odd way of putting tracks together that is both familiar and unfamiliar at the same time. The pipe effect on the vocal is really interesting as is the distorted melody on the verses. All the tracks have an interesting quirkiness about them, though not in a cute way, there’s a power about them from somebody who seems to be in control and  knows exactly what they are doing. I wish I had heard this first, it would have been a hell of an introduction to an brand new artist.

Below are 3 of the 4 tracks from this first EP, the last track is missing for some reason.

The next release was EP2, which had a picture on the cover this time and was released by the Young Turks record label. Well, no beating about the bush, it’s just amazing. There is something strangely unsettling about her music and that is what makes it so interesting.

r-4889833-1403352933-1223-jpeg

The visuals are generally rather odd which aligns with the music which is very listenable despite a definite strangeness underlying most tracks.

Tracklist

How’s That
Papi Pacify
Water Me
Ultraviolet

Then came the LP, which stuck with the theme by being titled LP1. This and what proceeded it is the work of  26-year-old (at the time, she’s about to turn 30) Tahliah Barnett, a dancer from Cheltenham whose previous brush with fame involved appearing in the videos for Do It Like a Dude and Price Tag by Jessie J.  There’s a very touching MOBO acceptance speech where she talks about being a backing dancer for WRETCH 32 on a previous year at the event, and creating a dance routine for a Lethal Bizzle video which was cut from the final version.

You may know a couple of Tricky albums, Pre-Millennium Tension and Angels with Dirty Faces, they are dark and brilliant, and LP1 seems to draw from and update the mood of those albums opening with choral singing that normally precedes a revelation in a horror movie where a poltergeist makes itself know by moving a cup or something, rather than an album full of electronic R&B slowjams, which is not necessarily the best description but it’s all I have.  She seems to have the ability to go a bit over the top with vocal acrobatics in a Whitney on speed sort of way, but doesn’t go there, instead choosing to reach where she wants to reach without singing every note in-between. Both Lights On and Two Weeks (after the delightfully creepy Preface) are stunning openers to and album that should find it difficult to continue after them but does, however, and this sounds bloody obvious, you have to listen. There are a lot of interesting things going on beneath the vocals and concentrating on the tracks rather than letting them wash over you really does reap rewards. I first heard the album when I put it on the turntable, sat down for about 40 minutes, stopping only to turn it over. I did nothing else, just sat and listened which is something many don’t do anymore.
 

Tracklist

A1 Preface
A2 Lights On
A3 Two Weeks
A4 Hours
A5 Pendulum
B1 Video Girl
B2 Numbers
B3 Closer
B4 Give Up
B5 Kicks
After the album was released to much critical acclaim, there was one more record (some MP3’s have been released since) and it has veered wildly from the previous naming convention by calling itself M3LL155X. This is the video that accompanied it, and just to be clear from the start, so there is absolutely no ambiguity, it is fecking brilliant. It’s long, but do try and watch it all, I realy think you’ll be glad you did:

Tracklist

A1 Figure 8
A2 I’m Your Doll
A3 In Time
B1 Glass & Patron
B2 Mothercreep

r-7802600-1449085197-1974-jpeg

FKA Twigs is a rare British talent who has a wonderful uniqueness, so much so that her music seems to be in a genre of its own at times. She writes all of her own material, produces her music and also creates all her visuals for her videos as well as directing some of them, and she is an amazing choreographer and dancer. The hard work she has put it shines through. Here she is at the 2014 MOBO awards with a stunning performance. I fail to see how anybody could fail to appreciate how incredibly talented this woman is, even if the music isn’t their thing, the talent is surely undeniable:

At Glastonbury:

And finally, For New Year’s Eve 2013, Young Turks threw a special party in Tulum, Mexico. Here, FKA twigs performs Hide amidst Mayan ruins.

 

George Duke – A Brazilian Love Affair

Recommended by Dave, if I have this story straight then Pete, Dave’s ever so slightly older brother, there’s maybe a couple of months difference between them, he may even be his younger older brother, had a copy of this album, which Dave copied for art class. We were talking about Stanley Clarke the other night and the topic of George Duke understandably came up, I mentioned I had The Clarke / Duke Project album but wasn’t that keen on it on first listen, which is when Dave recommended this one, he was right to, it is entirely different to The Clarke / Duke Project, infused as it is with latin flavours.

It is one of George Duke’s most well-known albums, but I’d never heard of it. For this 1979 album he travelled to RioDe Janeiro to collaborate with several local musicians and vocalists, including Milton Nascimento, Flora Purim and Airto Moreira (I didn’t know who they were untilI looked them up).  Duke combines his jazz funk fusion styles with Brazilian influences, to create something truly memorable.

There is really only one thing that spoils it, and it is this:

IMG_7139

That bloody CBS Nice Price sticker specifically designed to fuse with the cover underneath if not removed within 24 hours of application. Why the hell do people do this? Price tags are just as bad, some people leave them on for years and it is really bloody annoying. This particular sticker has been in place since 1983, 35 bloody years, it is never coming off without ruining the sleeve. I bought it online and in fairness it did say sticker on the cover,I wasn’t expecting one that bloody big though. Ahhh well, no matter, ultimately it is the record itself that is important and this one play nicely, bit crackly in-between tracks, not too bad though, so I’m good with that.

Listening to it for the second time around right now and I’m rating it pretty highly: 8.8

Currently Listening to……

Milan W. – Intact

IMG_6510

I received this from my subscription to ‘That Special Record’, which no longer does that sort of thing, a shame as they introduced me to some really interesting and varied music. I wrote about it here.

Somebody uploaded the whole thing to youtube since I last mentioned this album, so if you are interested at all, have a listen. I love the bloody thing.

Death and Vanilla – From Above 45

IMG_3493

I have almost certainly mentioned my love for Death and Vanilla  so I won’t go on about it again now. I just wanted to quickly mention a 7″ single that arrived the other day. I really like the graphic design of their covers and I’m also a sucker for coloured vinyl, so I had to have this really, there it is on my record player, on the left there.

I have a renewed interest in 7″ singles of late and they can be found quite cheaply if your prepared to dig through them at used record stores, usually at the £0.50 each sort of level or a bit more if they are considered popular or rare, but most people still don’t bother that much with them. Before I go any further, here is the A Side from this single, give it a spin:

Back to 7″ singles, I was digging through a rack of them a couple of weeks ago and picked up the following:

Beats International – Burundi Beats
Carmel – It’s all in the game
The Style Council – Speak Like A Child, Walls Come Tumbling Down, Shout to the Top
Soul II Soul – Get a Life
Black Uhuru – The Great Train Robbery~
Public Image – Rise
Bomb The Bass – Say a Little Prayer

Nine singles, £5, bargain really and they aren’t just to go on a shelf and be forgotten about, every couple of weeks I have a little 45’s session, it’s a break from whole albums, like your own mix tape in vinyl form.

So don’t ignore those rows of used 45’s in the record store, have a flick through, you will probably find something interesting.

Here is the B-Side of the Death and Vanilla single, Lux:

 

 

 

Joan Armatrading – Still Cheap

IMG_2024

Playing this, which I just picked up and continues my belief that this woman is cheap, undeservedly so. I talk about it here.  I now have ten albums (this one was £2) and a 12″ single, total cost £14, average cost per item is £1.27. Crazy for work of this quality, still, it means it doesn’t hit my pocket hard I guess.

The title track alone is worth the money:

I don’t know how many are left to get but I’ll keep buying them at those prices for sure.

We need to talk about Emmylou

I have never, ever, been interested in the music of Emmylou Harris, it is not my thing at all and I have been quite content without it in my life. And then I bought, on a whim, a used copy of Blue Kentucky Girl for a few £’s. I listened to it and, much to my surprise, I really rather liked it. Now I can tell you without hesitation that only a few short years ago I wouldn’t have given it the time of day, and I wouldn’t have like it, not one bit, but for some reason that is no longer true.

r-2388483-1328351462-jpeg

Now it could have ended there, but it didn’t. She has become one of the artists who I keep my eyes open for when digging through used records for bargains. Why? No idea. So I was going through the £2 section in the used record store and they had seemingly recently bought somebodies collection which had included some Emmylou in it.

It was all a bit odd. When I am digging through racks if I find something I want I put it to the front and, when I move to the next rack I put it and any others at the front of that one, and so on an so forth. I did 8 £2 racks and ended up with 5 Emmylou Harris albums at the front. I did ponder momentarily if I was overdoing it, but £10 for 5 albums is pretty damn reasonable so I decided to take them.

So far I’ve listened to two of them and godamnit I really like them. So the first I listened to was this:

r-7200202-1454239491-2874-jpeg

Elite Hotel from 1976. Her version of The Beatles – Here, There and Everywhere really is quite beautiful. The whole thing is really but I can’t help being slightly annoyed at myself for liking it. This goes back to the musical bunkers we were all entrenched in back in my teens, it’s ingrained and difficult to shake, but I persevere.

Tracklist

A1 Amarillo 3:05
A2 Together Again 3:56
A3 Feelin’ Single – Seein’ Double 2:34
A4 Sin City 3:57
A5 One Of These Days 3:03
A6 Till I Gain Control Again 5:40
B1 Here, There And Everywhere 3:59
B2 Ooh Las Vegas 3:47
B3 Sweet Dreams 4:03
B4 Jambalaya 3:05
B5 Satan’s Jewel Crown 3:13
B6 Wheels 3:13

The other one I’ve listened to so far is this:

r-2388489-1297096607-jpeg

Thirteen from 1986. Opener Mystery Train is a cracker.

Also, Emmylou looks gorgeous on the cover, where she was 39 at the time, or maybe 40. She is still a very attractive woman at 70. Anyway, I liked this album as well and am now considering getting a cowboy hat.

Tracklist

A1 Mystery Train
A2 You’re Free To Go
A3 Sweetheart Of The Pines
A4 Just Someone I Used To Know
A5 My Father’s House
B1 Lacassine Special
B2 Today I Started Loving You Again
B3 When I Was Yours
B4 I Had My Heart Set On You
B5 Your Long Journey

I haven’t had a chance to listen to the other three yet but I’ll report back when I have, hopefully I’ll hate them and all this will be over.